Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Lack of Flow: Difficulties in Beginning my Major Quest
When we first began talking about flow, I immediately thought of the classic examples in my own life of how deliberate practice leads to flow: playing sports I've been playing since I was little, driving a car etc. However, after starting my major quest, I began to remember how difficult it is to get to a point in a new activity where you can be in a state of flow, and how frustrating it is to get there through deliberate practice. For my major quest, I am learning how to knit, and will end up in some sort of knitting competition with a fellow guild member. Knitting may seem like a task that is easy to learn, but it is surprisingly frustrating. A few days ago, I asked someone to give me my first knitting lesson on a scarf that they had already started. I immediately noticed how awkward the knitting needles felt in my hands. I had to say the steps to a stitch outloud everytime and do them very slowly. In my first half an hour of trying, I got very frustrated; I messed up almost every stitch and had to get the person teaching me to undo the tangled bundle I had created and start over. I had to watch her knit and be retaught multiple times before I could even get the hang of doing the stitches correctly. As I struggled, I watched my teacher knit, which made me even more impatient. She was studying while knitting, not even looking at her stitches, as if she did not have to think about it. Her mind seemed at ease as she enjoyed her task; she was in a complete state of flow. I, being a person who gets frustrated easily, do not particularly enjoy learning a new task that I am not immediately good at; I do not want to have to go through all the steps of deliberate practice. I could not help but wonder how long it would take me to be able to knit leisurely, without a significant amount of concentration. I guess I'll have to stick it out and find out if I can become even close to reaching a state of flow.